Obama suggests low poll numbers due to high gas prices

President Obama on Thursday suggested his lagging poll numbers are due to high gas prices around the nation. 

Speaking to supporters at his sixth fundraising event in California, Obama conceded that gas prices are having an effect on how people view his administration, but indicated he is prepared to weather the storm.

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"My poll numbers go up and down depending on the latest crisis and right now gas prices are weighing heavily on people," he told a gathering of backers at a Los Angeles restaurant, according to a pool report.

Pollsters have said that rising gas prices have played a large part in the decline of his approval rating since announcing his reelection campaign on April 4, but the president's comments Thursday are among the first times he has publicly acknowledged it. 

Obama's Gallup approval rating fell into a tie of its all-time low of 41 percent last Friday as the national average for gas prices edged closer to $4 per gallon. 

The White House appears well-aware of the toll that high gas prices can take on a commander in chief's approval ratings, especially as he is preparing to run for reelection.

In a town hall event in Reno, Nev. earlier on Thursday, Obama announced that the Justice Department is launching a task force to search for potential abuses in the oil markets that could contribute to higher prices. 

Despite the concern, Obama appeared to downplay the potential long-term effects of gas prices on his approval.

"If I wasn't professionally in this, I wouldn't be following all of these debates in Washington," he said.

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